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    What you'll read:

    • Why cybersecurity programs should have the goal of enabling business transformation and reducing business risk. 
    • Three use cases showing how cybersecurity asset management can help enable business. 


    Cybersecurity asset management (including SaaS management and SaaS security posture management) is the foundation of cybersecurity programs and cyber risk management. Cyber risk management, however, isn’t a standalone function. In other words, security programs don’t exist for security’s sake, or even to “improve” the security of an organization. Any good cybersecurity program should have the goal of being a business risk reducer and business transformation enabler. Cybersecurity practitioners don’t always think of their daily work as a business function, but it is.

    Too often cybersecurity programs are considered a technical function that is in direct contrast to speed and efficiency (enter the old adage about security and IT teams generating constant friction). But when done well, cybersecurity teams are all about speed and efficiency — that’s because (when done well) cybersecurity processes remove the potential for the type of system compromise that could result in network outages, data integrity issues, inaccessible tools, unreliable or missing data, and more.

    It is therefore pertinent for cybersecurity teams to start considering everything they do in a business context. To do so, security teams must start with a “square one” understanding of what they’re dealing with. That is, “What are we dealing with?” This question can only be reliably answered by a comprehensive attack surface management program that places cybersecurity asset management at its foundation.

    Why asset management isn't just technical  

    It’s easy to look at cybersecurity asset management (CAM), cyber asset attack surface management (CAASM), vulnerability management (VM), and the like and think about all the technical use cases these processes and/or tools solve. Asset inventory and visibility? Check. Patch management? Check. Endpoint or agent management? Check. And while all these elements are necessary to run an effective cybersecurity program, they don’t serve the business unless the results of managing all these processes and maintaining all these technologies support business growth.

    Too often, though, cybersecurity programs center on technical use cases. Doing so is perfectly fine when cybersecurity teams are executing their daily responsibilities and/or working with other technical teams. When working with business owners, executives, and boards of directors — i.e., budget holders, approvers, and allocators — technical use cases sometimes fall short. What the business needs to understand is how accomplishing technical tasks contributes to sales revenue growth, new product or market opportunities, operational speed and efficiency, more-accurate data upon which to make strategic decisions, and more. This translation layer is crucial when working with business colleagues, yet is often lacking in tech-to-business conversations. Furthermore, even when talking amongst themselves, technical teams (including security and IT) will benefit by upleveling their thoughts about how cybersecurity contributes to business success.

    Cybersecurity asset management as a business enabler

    Trusted business advisor for business risk reduction

    When it comes to enabling business transformation and success, cybersecurity asset management is a core component. All the technical use cases CAM can solve (including asset inventory, vulnerability identification and management, endpoint management, patch management, access control validation) feed into the larger picture: Risk assessment and mitigation. When it comes to overall effect on the business, CAM provides all the necessary insights into the availability, security state, and criticality of all digital assets in the business’s IT ecosystem. Why? Because a cybersecurity asset management platform brings together all the pertinent data from organizations’ siloed technology deployments and makes sense of it all — without the aggravation, time drain, and inaccuracy of legacy asset management tools.

    CAM automatically aggregates, normalizes, deduplicates, and correlates data on all assets present in the environment, plus who or what is accessing them, how, with what frequency, the connections/relationships between assets, and any vulnerabilities or misconfigurations. 

    CAM unearths all assets that exist, reveals assets’ security hygiene, and allows businesses to assess their importance to the business. It then allows IT and security teams to take control of their asset attack surface by giving them the tools to enforce controls and policies that reduce risk. This whole process — from asset identification to enforcement action — allows sales, finance, operations, R&D, and other business teams to move fast.

    What’s more, CAM is purpose-built to map the asset environment to regulatory requirements and industry frameworks. This helps IT and security teams demonstrate alignment with best practices and requirements, and reduces the risk of fines or penalties that will impact the business’s bottom line or reputation.

     Mergers and acquisitions (M&A)

    Cybersecurity asset management plays a crucial role in M&A due diligence and post-merger integration processes. During the due diligence phase, CAM allows the acquiring company to identify all assets — hardware, software, users, cloud environments, SaaS applications — and all assets’ security hygiene. This gives the acquirer a full picture of the technology risks it might be inheriting.

    As with overall business risk reduction (in the above section), CAM provides insight to the to-be-acquired company’s business risk posture. From a business point of view, the acquiring company needs to understand what and where critical assets are to make informed decisions about how to run the business moving forward.

    Further, CAM gives technology teams the ability to more-easily manage the post-acquisition/merger integration of assets, including decommissioning overlaps in technology deployments and capabilities, implementing consistent security controls and policies across merged organizations, and providing a consolidated point of view of the technology risk that could impact business resiliency.

    Audit preparation

    Technology audits are an important process which have the ability to significantly impact normal business operations. As such, IT and security teams need reliable and comprehensive processes to ensure they are ready for audits and haven’t overlooked any important factors in their technology stack. Cybersecurity asset management helps organizations prepare for audits by providing a single, correlated, and consolidated view of the asset ecosystem. CAM gives security, IT, and audit teams complete visibility into and control over all digital assets — regardless of their operational state and whether they’re managed or unmanaged — and allows the company to assess security risks, validate controls, enforce policies, and align with regulatory requirements.

    What’s more, a good CAM platform generates not just dashboards and reports, but allows customers to customize dashboards and reports to fit their business requirements. This, in turn, results in improved workflows that facilitate vulnerability prioritization, faster remediation, decreased business risk.

    Don't silo your asset management solution

    It’s easy to think of cybersecurity processes and (especially) technologies in the context of benefitting a technical use case. When done right, however, cybersecurity programs are a business enabler and therefore provide ample advantages to non-technical teams. Good cybersecurity programs facilitate resilience and pave the way to seamless operations  — for everyone working in and with the organization. 

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